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Download The Key Studio Sessions Volume 13 (featuring Bardo Pond, Girlpool, Moosh & Twist and more)

The Key Studio Sessions Volume 13
Photo by Ola Baldych | facebook.com/ola.baldych

I don’t want to gush. But I’d be lying if I said that this latest collection of performances from The Key Studio Sessions wasn’t special to me.

In the past four months, I’ve recorded one of my favorite Philadelphia bands of the past 20 years – shamanistic psychedelic rock masters Bardo Pond, whose performance was a thrill – as well as one of my favorite new Philadelphia bands – the brilliant duo Girlpool, transported locally from LA this winter with a unique sound and an incredible collection of songs in tow. I also recorded a local guitar icon whose work I’ve admired since I first began covering the scene for City Paper 15 years ago, Mike “Slo-Mo” Brenner, doing a set of his raga-influenced compositions on the 22-stringed chaturangui. (Brenner also sat in on lap steel with folk outfit Kicking Down Doors.)

And that’s only the beginning. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Caroline Rose at World Cafe Live, Cold Roses at Bourbon and Branch, Two Gallants at Johnny Brenda

Caroline Rose | Photo by John Vettese
Caroline Rose | Photo by John Vettese

After making a splash in 2013 with her pop-and-country infused album America Religious, New Jersey’s Caroline Rose returned last fall with an album that expanded her sound into realms of gospel and blues with I Will Not Be Afraid. Tonight she plays World Cafe Live opening for Pokey La Farge. Tickets and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.
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Philly Free Song Friday is bringing a free show to Bourbon & Branch next Friday

 

Paul Hocynec | via Soundcloud.com/paulhocynec
Paul Hocynec | via Soundcloud.com/paulhocynec

Paul Hocynec admitted that he was, at one point, negative about the local music scene.

“I wasn’t really the best supporter. I’d complain that nobody was at my shows, but wasn’t necessarily going out to shows and supporting other people,” Hocynec said. “I came to a bit of a weird time in my life and I realized I wanted to be part of a community more than anything else. I just wanted to be connected with other local bands.”

Starting in August, he began Philly Free Song Friday, inviting musicians to his local studio space, Woodbrook Recording, under a few conditions: they have a few hours to record whatever they want, but it must be an original song, and they have to be okay with Hocynec releasing it as a free download come Friday. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Cold Roses

It’s both a blessing and a curse: the more a band adheres to a time-tested, tried-and-true rock n’ roll sound, the harder it can sometimes be for that band to stand out from the pack. But even in a city with as robust a blues / Americana scene as Philly, Cold Roses makes an impact.

Here’s how: killer arrangements punctuated by a punchy horn section. Hooks for days. Direct, heartfelt songwriting by frontman Rob Clancy. The term “Springsteenian” would not be inappropriate in this circumstance, especially on “No Silence in the City,” the title track from its 2014 debut LP. Though if you couldn’t pick it up by their band name, Ryan Adams is also a huge reference point for Clancy and co., and you can hear traces of him in the new “Stayin’ Alive Ain’t Easy,” one of a handful of songs the band debuted during its Key Studio Session this week.

Stream and download the set below, and catch Cold Roses during one of its shows this spring: May 1st at Bourbon and Branch, May 16th opening for Breaking Benjamin at Wells Fargo Center and May 22nd at Connie’s Ric Rac. Tickets and information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Jukebox the Ghost at Union Transfer, Chris Kasper at Johnny Brenda’s and Lili Anel at Melodies Cafe

Photo via Jukebox the Ghost Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/jukeboxtheghost)
Photo via facebook.com/jukeboxtheghost
Indie rock trio Jukebox the Ghost will play Union Transfer this evening. The group appeared at our Free at Noon concert a few months back and brought the house down. With an ongoing flow of witty banter and high-energy performances, Jukebox the Ghost has quickly become a band known for a kickass live concert. They have recently released their self-titled album last week and are offering an opportunity to meet and greet with them. Tonight’s show is bound to be filled with indie pop fun and hilarious chatter from the musicians themselves. For more information on tonight’s show, check out the XPN Concert Calendar. Watch their video for “The Great Unknown” below.

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The 4th Annual Philly Sings Philly is coming

PSP
Created to explore the music, past and present, and the storied legacy of the City of Brotherly Love, the 4th Annual Philly Sings Philly event returns to The Fire during the month of November. Across four Tuesdays, local musicians will pay homage to their idols, adding a personal touch to their favorite songs by Philly-born artists. Each week is curated by a different local music organization. Continue reading →

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Philly blues rockers Cold Roses promise “No Silence In The City” on their new single

Cold Roses
Photo via coldroses.net

Kiss your quiet walks through the streets of Philadelphia goodbye; on their new single, local group Cold Roses proclaims there will be “No Silence In The City.” The title track off of their upcoming debut full-length plays a bit of a prank as it starts off slow and melodic, but don’t let it fool you. A few seconds in and you’ll be grinning as a very late ’60s sounding guitar slides in, followed by a heavy punch of drums – these guys were born when?! Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Lucius at World Cafe Live, Levee Drivers at Kung Fu Necktie, Phantogram at Union Transfer and more

luciusPhoto by: Peter Larson www.peterlarsonphoto.com

Indie pop/rock quintet Lucius bring their catchy harmonies and intoxicating vocals to World Cafe Live tonight. With the October release of their wildly celebrated debut album Wildewoman, which has been making the rounds on a slew of top albums of 2013 lists, the Brooklyn-based band has been touring heavily and promises to put on a performance not to be missed. Get tickets and more information here. Watch the official video for “Go Home” off of Wildewoman below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: XPN Welcomes Toy Soldiers at Johnny Brenda’s, Steve Gunn at Little Berlin, XPN Welcomes Shovels & Rope at Union Transfer and more

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Toy Soldiers celebrate the release of The Maybe Boys at Johnny Brenda’s.  The local roots / rock outfit recorded the LP with Bill Moriarty (Dr. Dog, Man Man) this year,  capturing most of the songs in a live set-up.  Live is the best way to experience the band – they’ve clocked in hundreds of shows on the road and know how to get the crowd invested.  Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show can be found here.  Check out Toy Soldiers’ Key Studio Session from earlier this week here and watch them perform “Tell the Teller” and “Forget How it Used to Be” below.

Steve Gunn returns to his home city for a show with Cian Nugent and Chris Forsyth at Little Berlin tonight.  The guitarist / singer has reached a new audience with his latest Time Off release, which he put out earlier this year through Paradise of Bachelors.  As he proved at the record’s release show in June, Gunn has a knack for blending playing styles from all over the world in an enthralling and transcendent way.  Tickets and information for tonight’s show can be found here.  Below, watch Gunn’s Tiny Desk Concert, presented by NPR Music.

Cold Roses headline MilkBoy Philly tonight.  The gravely-voiced local band released its debut EP The Georgia Fugue earlier this year and recently followed it up with August’s “The One You Love” single, taken from an upcoming LP.  Cold Roses echo the hard-lived grit of deep country rock but temper the edge with upbeat, danceable melodies.  Tickets and information for tonight’s show can be found here.  Listen to “Lose That Man” below.

XPN welcomes Shovels and Rope to Union Transfer.  The husband and wife duo have toured with Dawes, Jack White and Justin Townes Earle since releasing their debut LP O’ Be Joyful but are striking out on a headlining tour across the States this fall.  Based in South Carolina, Shovels & Rope perform foot-stomping , twangy and heartfelt country that is easy to sing along to.  Tickets and information for the show can be found here.  Watch the band perform “Gasoline” below.

Also happening: Hard Skin at Boot & Saddle; Randall Bramblett at the Sellersville Theater; Cheers Elephant at Ortlieb’s.  Tickets and information for all shows can be found on the XPN Concert Calendar.